Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) is a grant-funded program from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that provides individualized, in-depth, benefits counseling and work incentives planning to Social Security beneficiaries who are:
- Receiving a Title II disability benefit, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Childhood Disability Benefit (CDB), and Disabled Widow/Widower’s Benefit (DWB), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) due to a disability,
- At least 14 years old but not yet reached full retirement age, AND
- Interested in, actively looking for, or already engaged in work through wage employment or self-employment.
The program aims to improve employment outcomes and increase economic self-sufficiency for Social Security disability beneficiaries through their understanding of how employment can be an option for them.
Disability Rights Iowa (DRI)’s WIPA project is staffed with Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICs) who are trained and certified to provide benefits counseling to SSA disability beneficiaries across the entire state of Iowa and in 34 counties of northwest Illinois.
CWICs support disability beneficiaries through distance-based technology (i.e., meetings over the phone and online meeting platforms like Zoom) to increase the accessibility of our services.
What can WIPA do for disability beneficiaries?
CWICs can help:
- Verify all benefits information (e.g., SSA disability benefits, health insurance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Housing Assistance Programs (HUD), Veterans Administration benefits, etc.).
- Identify and connect with services and supports needed to overcome barriers to employment.
- Understand how paid employment will affect all federal/state/local benefits.
- Identify, use, and manage Social Security work incentives.
- Support beneficiaries with reporting wage information to Social Security and state agencies.
- Assist beneficiaries in successfully managing benefits over time.
- Analyze healthcare coverage options to enable beneficiaries to determine which ones offer the coverage they need at the most affordable price.
- Resolve benefits problems.
Get Connected with DRI WIPA
Beneficiaries in Iowa or northwest Illinois who are interested in getting connected with DRI’s WIPA program should contact the Ticket to Work (TTW) Help Line at (866) 968-7842 (Voice) / (866) 833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. TTW Representatives provide general information about how work affects Social Security benefits, evaluate an individual’s eligibility for WIPA services, and provide a direct referral to DRI WIPA staff.
After DRI WIPA staff receives a referral, a CWIC will contact the beneficiary to further discuss their individual employment goals and the process for WIPA services:
- Beneficiary completes and submits program documents.
- CWIC verifies information needed to better understand the individual’s benefits.
- CWIC, beneficiary, and any other members of the beneficiary’s employment support team meet to discuss findings and next steps.
- CWIC writes a Benefits Summary & Analysis (BS&A) that outlines how the beneficiary’s employment goal will impact their current and eligibility for other benefits.
- CWIC, beneficiary, and the employment support team meet to review the BS&A and develop a follow-up plan for future critical touchpoints.
Individuals interested in learning more about DRI’s WIPA project or who are currently receiving WIPA services can contact DRI WIPA at (515) 278-2502 Relay 711.
DRI’s WIPA project is excited to support you on your employment journey towards financial independence!
WIPA is funded through a Social Security cooperative agreement at U.S. taxpayer expense. Although Social Security reviewed this document for accuracy, it does not constitute an Official Social Security communication.